Almost ironically, the large SUV class is not all that large. Most buyers seem to have migrated to midsize SUVs due to fuel-economy concerns, especially now that several entries in that class offer three rows of seats.
One functional element that tends to separate midsize SUVs from large ones is towing capacity. There are no three-row midsize SUVs that offer a V8 engine, and few manage even a 5,000-lb towing capacity. By contrast, all large SUVs offer a V8 engine (save for the Ford Expedition, which has a satisfyingly powerful turbocharged V6), and maximum towing capacity starts at about 7,400 lbs and goes up to about 9,000 lbs—and some models come in heavy-duty versions that go even higher than that.
The Nissan Armada is redesigned on a platform shared with the Infiniti QX80 SUV. The new Armada boasts fresh styling, more power, and a host of new features. The Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, and GMC Yukon/Yukon XL all receive a number of updates, including front active aero shutters for improved aerodynamics on the highway, available Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking, a Rear Seat Reminder feature on the MyLink system, and a standard Teen Driver monitoring system. The available rear-seat entertainment system is upgraded with additional input jacks, digital headphones, and other enhancements. Premier replaces LTZ as the Tahoe and Suburban’s top trim level. The Ford Expedition gets an appearance package for Limited models, and Platinum models come standard with polished 22-inch wheels and a driver-selectable adjustable suspension. The Toyota Sequoia sees no changes of note.
Both the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon are offered in longer-length versions: the Chevrolet Suburban and similar GMC Yukon XL, which add 14 inches in wheelbase and 20 inches in overall length. The Ford Expedition also offers extended-wheelbase models, called Expedition EL, that are about 15 inches longer overall.
Most entries in this class seat up to eight passengers, but the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and similar GMC Yukon and Yukon XL seat up to nine. At the other end of the scale, the Dodge Durango seats up to seven. The Chevrolet Tahoe Premier and Suburban Premier, Ford Expedition Platinum, GMC Yukon/Yukon XL Denali, Nissan Armada Platinum, and Toyota Sequoia Platinum are all high-end offerings that rival some premium large SUVs for style. Also for price, as they start at about $63,000 for the Expedition Platinum, around $62,000 for the GMs, $57,000 for the Nissan Armada Platinum, and $62,000 for the Sequoia Platinum—and go up from there. Almost by definition, these large SUVs get rather dismal fuel economy and can be a handful in around-town driving. That can end up being quite a price to pay for the added space and towing capacity. We feel our Best Buy pick strikes a good balance between giving buyers what they need in a large SUV while still being livable on an everyday basis.